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ASYMMETRICAL OWL EARS



Matt Troutman writes..

> One of the coolest aspects of owls in my opinion is their adaptation 
> to hunting.  Their eyes are rotated completely forward and are huge 
> (literally like golf balls); their eyesight is tremendous.  Coupling 
> good eyesight are the facial disks that pick up sound like radar.  
> Couple this with a very strong beak and feet that are probably the 
> strongest in the avian world, and their stealthy flight, they are 
> probably the best dinosaurian hunters that ever evolved.  

Matt Matt Matt, you forgot to mention the fact that some (all?) owls
have asymmetrically positioned ears: one ear is literally higher up 
one side of the head from the other. This aids directional hearing. A 
question I have never had answered is if, in the species that 
exhibit it (I know that _Tyto alba_ does), this asymmetry is constant 
throughout populations (i.e. all individuals have the left ear higher 
than the right, or vice versa), or is subject to individual 
variation.

Such a shame that the coolest owls of them all, the giant Cuban 
ornimegalonychids and the Hawaiian goshawk-mimicking 
grallistrigines, are extinct. 

DARREN NAISH
darren.naish@port.ac.uk